EU AI Act: European Parliament Passes World’s First AI Law

# The EU Parliament Passes the World’s First AI Law: A Landmark in Regulating Artificial Intelligence

In a historical move, the European Parliament today has approved the pioneering Artificial Intelligence Act, marking the inception of the world’s first law governing Artificial Intelligence (AI). This groundbreaking legislation is designed to ensure the safe application of AI technologies while safeguarding fundamental rights. Moreover, it aims to foster the development of AI solutions without imposing unnecessary restrictions.

After thorough negotiations among member states at the end of the previous year, the legislation received an overwhelming endorsement from the Parliament with 523 votes in favor, only 46 against, and 49 abstentions.

## Key Provisions for Safe AI Deployment

The EU’s new guidelines meticulously outline requirements for the secure deployment of AI systems, closely correlating with the potential risks involved.

Among the pivotal regulations, certain AI applications are outright banned if they have the potential to infringe upon the rights of European citizens. Explicitly, the use of real-time biometric recognition systems in publicly accessible spaces is prohibited. Similarly, biometric categorization systems that sort individuals based on sensitive characteristics such as gender, ethnicity, nationality, religion, or political orientation are now strictly forbidden across Europe.

Furthermore, the extraction of biometric features from surveillance systems and social networks, emotion recognition at workplaces, and the creation of facial recognition databases are henceforth prohibited.

Specific prohibitions include:

– Real-time biometric recognition systems in publicly accessible areas;
– Retrospective biometric recognition systems, except for law enforcement in serious crime investigations with judicial approval;
– Biometric categorization systems utilizing sensitive traits;
– Predictive policing systems based on profiling, location, or past criminal behavior;
– Emotion recognition systems in law enforcement, border control, workplaces, and educational institutions; and
– Indiscriminate harvesting of biometric data from social media or video surveillance for creating facial recognition databases.

## Setting Clear Boundaries

For law enforcement’s use of biometry systems, there are additional strict limitations. Real-time use is only allowed in justified exceptional cases and must be temporally and geographically restricted.

Furthermore, AI chatbots, such as ChatGPT, are now subject to transparency requirements. Content produced by AI, identified as „deepfakes,“ must be clearly labeled.

Following the European Parliament’s consent, the AI Act is now in the final stages of review. It will officially become law 20 days post its publication in the EU’s Official Journal. The stipulated bans within the legislation will be enforceable after six months, and within 24 months, all EU countries are required to implement these directives.

This legislative achievement by the EU marks a significant step towards regulating the ever-evolving landscape of artificial intelligence. While fostering innovation, it importantly underscores the vital balance between technological advancements and the protection of individual rights and freedoms.

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